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The Effects of High Altitudes on Your Car

Sitting at an elevation of over 6,000 feet above sea level, Colorado Springs is a high-altitude town—just like most cities throughout our great state of Colorado. Being this high up offers a lot of natural beauty, but the altitude can also put a little more wear and tear on your car than an average low-altitude environment in other parts of the country.

It’s important to understand the effects of high altitudes and mountain driving on different systems in your car. Colorado Springs’ own LightHouse Automotive takes a look at some of things you need to know.

Fuel Efficiency

Most vehicles these days are tested specifically to handle a wider variety of altitudes and geographic environments. Still, higher altitudes mean lower air density and less oxygen, argon and nitrogen being pulled into the engine and that can mean the vehicle has to work harder to efficiently urn off fuel. On the other hand, lower fuel octane ratings are required to run the engine, so there are some trade-offs when it comes to fuel consumption. Keeping your fuel injectors clean is a great maintenance step to take.


Some engines may be a big sluggish at higher altitudes because of the lower air density and hillier driving conditions. It’s important to have your engine tuned up regularly and ready to handle some of the inherent challenges of a high-altitude environment.

Tire Pressure

When you live and drive in a high-altitude area, it’s a good idea to check your tire pressure frequently. The lower temperatures can cause tire pressure to decrease. If your tires don’t have the proper pressure at all times, you will experience weaker fuel economy, uneven tread wear and steering/control issues.

Engine Air Filter

It’s important to keep your air filter clean in high altitudes to ensure the vehicle is getting as much pure air as it can to run efficiently. Replace your air filter as needed.


If you drive in the mountains a lot or frequently experience roads with a lot of hills or tight corners, you will be putting a lot of extra wear and tear on your brakes. Get your brakes inspected regularly and replace your brake pads as recommended.

High-Altitude Auto Maintenance at LightHouse Automotive

LightHouse Automotive is here to help with all your high-altitude vehicle maintenance and Colorado Springs auto repair needs. We know what it takes to keep vehicles running well in this unique environment, so call our shop today at (719) 465-0302 or schedule your service appointment online.


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